Friday, December 20, 2013

Misuse of the Criminal Sanction for Monetary Corporate Legal Infractions in the Financial Services Industry

CNBC reporter Kate Keely in The next headache for SAC's Steinberg: Legal fees? reports on the prison and other consequences of the criminal conviction of an SAC Capital trader for insider trading.

All of the people involved in cases such as this, including parties, judges, juries, and media should be required to read Herbert Packer's The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, as we have already posted about at length previously:

USA Drug Policy Flawed : 2.3 Million in Jail or Prison : Limits of the Criminal Sanction : Portugal Leads Way to Legal Reform & Drug Decriminalization

U.S. Sentencing Commission Proposes Reduced Criminal Penalties for Corporations having Compliance Programs

The Limits of the Criminal Sanction: School Districts and Education, Parents, Children and Teachers

We wrote there (in the first link):
Who out there in the American criminal justice system understands the basic wisdom found in Herbert Packer's Limits of the Criminal Sanction? What lawmaker, government official, judge, prosecutor, or prison official in the United States has ever read Packer's book - much less applied the inexorable legal policy conclusions demanded by it? (see Google Books, this PPT and Packer's Two Models of the Criminal Process)

Not every undesirable human action or activity in society is or should be subject to criminal punishments. There are other - more modern - means available to deal with socially undesirable behavior.

Indeed, the primitive idea of jails or prisons as legal solutions for societal problems has been around for millennia. But such jails and prisons, except as a deserved punishment of and/or an effective deterrent of violent and dangerous criminals, are by their very nature as outdated in modern law as the now discredited blood-letting is in modern medicine, which was an accepted medical practice worldwide from the earliest times of humanity down to the late 19th century, a flawed medical practice which surely cost America's first President, George Washington, his life (we quote from the Wikipedia):

"Bloodletting was also popular in the young United States of America.... George Washington asked to be bled heavily after he developed a throat infection from weather exposure. Almost 4 pounds (1.7 litres) of blood was withdrawn ... contributing to his death in 1799."
Is there any chance that the often incompetent and unqualified people serving in the U.S. Congress and the legislatures of the world will ever modernize the laws in terms of defining what is truly necessary as a criminal sanction and what is not?

We are skeptical.

Sports Law: What is the Proper Role of the NCAA in College Sports? Court Filing Denies a Legal Duty to Protect Student-Athletes

What is the proper role of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
in college sports?

What does the organization do to justify
the exorbitant salaries paid its executive officers?

Could the NCAA easily be replaced
with an institution equally effective, and at much lower cost?

Mike Singer has the story at CBS Sports
NCAA 'denies legal duty' to protect student-athletes, court filing says.

See in this regard here and here for reports at USA Today
about the money and politics behind the scenes in college sports.

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